Library Blog

Today Is National Waffle Day!

Belgium waffles

Who doesn’t love a classic, golden waffle covered in maple syrup or piled with fruit and whipped cream? Today we celebrate this sweet breakfast and the anniversary of the first patented waffle iron. It was on August 24, 1869 that Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York received his official waffle iron patent. Swarthout’s waffle iron featured two cast iron plates hinged together and a wooden handle for easy turning. Though basic in design, Swarthout’s invention was revolutionary and forever changed the way waffles were made.

In 1891, John Kliembach of Shamokin, Pennsylvania, fashioned his own waffle iron and became a traveling salesman of waffles. Kliembach sold his waffles for a penny each, or a dozen for ten cents. Now that’s a unique way to make a few bucks!

By the turn of the century, waffle irons were again undergoing a major innovation. In 1911, General Electric introduced the first electric waffle iron designed by Thomas J. Stackbeck, which featured a thermostat to avoid overheating and burnt waffles. As novel as they were, electric waffle irons were not produced for consumers until 1918, though by the early 1930s, they had become a common kitchen appliance.

In the mid-1930s, Frank Dorsa and his two brothers developed a just-add-milk dry waffle mix for homemade waffles that restaurants and home cooks could use to quickly whip up a batch. With the success of his waffle mix under his belt, Dorsa took on his next project: figuring out how home cooks could get homemade waffles without cooking. In the early 1950s, Dorsa designed a conveyor of waffle irons for mass production and then put them through a flash freezer. By 1953, Dorsa’s Eggo Frozen Waffles hit supermarkets and became an instant success.

In 1964, a new kind of waffle was introduced to America at the New York World’s Fair. Maurice Vermersch sold his wife’s recipe for Brussels waffles which were fluffy, yeast waffles topped with strawberries and whipped cream. Vermersch realized that most Americans would not know that Brussels refers to Belgium’s capital, so he changed the name to Belgian waffles instead.

Waffles may have a humble beginning, but no matter how you cook them, waffles are a delicious meal anytime! If you would like to try out new recipes, check out the books below for inspiration!

Waffle Cookbooks Available from the Library:

Kooking With Kelli: Kollection of Family Recipes from Nana’s Chicken-n-waffles by Kelli Ferrell

150 Best Waffle Maker Recipes: From Sweet to Savory by Marilyn Haugen

Will It Waffle? 53 Unexpected and Irresistible Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron by Daniel Shumski

All information came from the following sources:

National Day Calendar, Frank Dorsa’s Obituary, Kellogg’s, The Nibble, Smithsonian Magazine, Wikipedia.

Kelly M.

Kelly is an Adult Librarian in the Canfield Unit at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. She earned her Master’s in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2019. Kelly loves all things bookish, from playing word games to dabbling with creative writing. And, of course, reading as many books as possible from all genres, though she especially enjoys romance and YA novels. Kelly also likes crafting, baking, listening to country music, and spending time with her family.